The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent US government agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth, signed an agreement with the President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani, Prime Minister Albin Kurti and the Minister of Economy Artane Rizvanolli for the amount of over 200 million US dollars, the largest investment in the energy sector in Kosovo.
“Today, the USA through the MCC, reaffirmed its steadfast support for our new Republic and its willingness to help us advance further in terms of sustainable economic development,” said President Osmani.
She also emphasised that as a result of security developments in Europe and beyond, quick and smart interventions in the energy sector are vital and can become the most important legacy of our generation.
“This investment will help create flexibility and stability in the electricity grid by enabling greater integration of renewable resources, as well as the development of skills that will contribute to the strengthening of the participation and engagement of women in the energy sector and in the labour market,” she pointed out.
Indeed, in recent years, demand for electricity in Kosovo has far exceeded supply, a problem expected to worsen in the years to come. Four out of ten households in Kosovo experience energy poverty, the highest rate among the five neighbouring countries for which data exists. Unreliable electricity results in frequent supply disruptions, requiring Kosovo to rely on costly emergency energy imports and highly polluting sources such as coal-fired plants to meet its electricity needs.
“This signing represents the continuation of a deep partnership between the United States and Kosovo and our commitment to work together to build modern, sustainable energy solutions which will benefit nearly 2 million Kosovars,” commented the MCC chief Executive, Alice Albright. “Our planned investments in the energy sector will accelerate the country’s transition towards an energy future that is more sustainable, inclusive, reliable and affordable.”
“This is going to be the largest and most innovative energy investment in Kosovo to date,” said Prime Minister Kurti. “The compact program will be the cornerstone of our green transition and it will contribute to our energy security and social-economic transformation. Today, we are not only marking historic cooperation on shared goals in the energy sector, but we are also celebrating the deeply rooted relations and shared values between our two nations.”
In particular, the agreement includes three projects. First, the Energy Storage Project aims to support energy security, reduce energy costs and facilitate a transition to a cleaner energy future by investing in 350 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy storage systems, which can fill in gaps of longer-scale, unexpected outages or shifting energy to cover peak demand; by supporting technical and administrative capacity building for energy and climate regulators; and by implementing policy and institutional reforms required for a well-defined operating environment for energy storage in Kosovo while also promoting more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for women in the country’s energy sector.
Second, the Just and Equitable Transition Acceleration Project aims to establish new technical training programs that provide the skills demanded by employers in the energy and adjacent sectors; and incentivise practices that facilitate gender equity practices among energy sector employers, providing technical assistance to help increase female representation in Kosovo’s energy companies and supporting networking, training and mentoring opportunities for women.
Finally, the American Catalyst Facility for Development Project aims to promote additional private-sector investments in Kosovo’s energy sector in collaboration with the US International Development Finance Corporation by complementing MCC’s funding and leveraging private sector participation to scale a successful energy storage public entity launch and catalysing complementary renewable energy investments that bolster renewable energy generation capacity.